Tamil Proverbs Part 13


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After a long time coming back to my proverb series.

வெளவாலுக்கு யார் தாம்பூலம் வைத்தார்கள் ?

Who invited the bat offering Thamboolam?

People usually for any auspicious function invite their guest by giving them a Thamboolam. Thamboolam- A plate which usually contains beetle leaves,areca – nut, Kunkum, fruits. A bat comes uninvited when it sees its prey – the insects.

This proverb is said to people who what they are supposed to do without any invitation.

துலுக்காத ஆயுதம் துருப்பிடிக்கும் .

Weapon which is not polished gets rusted.

A skill not put to use get wasted or a property not taken care of properly goes waste.

வானம் சுரக்க , தானம் சிறக்கும் .

When the sky opens up and rains, charity will be abundant.

When it rains, the growth will be good. When growth is good it means huge profits to farmers. If huge profits means more charity. One thing leads to another.

பொங்கியும் பால் புறம் போகவில்லை .

Even after boiling the milk hasn’t spilt out of the vessel.

Though the milk boiled, it did not boil over. 2573.
Said of something unpleasant or shameful that has happened within a
family but which the family tries to keep secret.

Said of people who try to hide an open secret.

கொண்டையைப் போட்டு விராலை இழுக்கிறது .

Use the small fish as bait to catch the bigger fish.

Said of power hungry people who seek the patronage of powerful people by cajoling some one related to the powerful man.

” Throw in a sprat and catch a salmon.”

பால் சட்டிக்கு பூனை காவல் வைக்கிறதுபோல்.

Asking a cat to guard the pot of milk.

Giving power to the wrong hands.

” To entrust the sheep to the wolf.”

சாரத்தை உட்கொண்டு சக்கையை உமிழ்ந்துவிடுவதுபோல்.

Drinking the juice and spitting the pulp.

Said of people who befriends you when you have good time and deserts you while you are on a rough patch.

” He that gets, forgets ; but he that wants, thinks on.”

முன் கை நீண்டால் , முழங்கை நீளும் .

Only if you stretch out your hand, others can stretch out their arm.

There are so many ready to take your help only you have to offer it to others.

” One never loses by doing a good turn.”

தொடையில் புண்ணை நடையில் காட்டுகிறதா ?

Would any one show the wound in their thigh while they walk?

Keep your personal things to yourself , you need not exhibit your life story to any one.

நாவு அசைய , நாடு அசையும் .

When the tounge moves , the country moves.

Said of powerful and influential speakers who can change the tide of history , just with their speech. Best example would be Hitler.

” A good tongue is a good weapon” Or, this phrase may mean : ” A tyrant’s breath is another’s death.”


Reference : A classified collection of Tamil Proverbs by Rev. Herman Jensen


Related post:

Tamil Proverbs:



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  1. Dear sir,


    excellent collection… keep it up.

    All the best for ur future endeavors


  2. முன் கை நீண்டால் , முழங்கை நீளும் .

    always thought kai neetrathu was a reference to our age old affliction…corruption.

  3. Hello, It is about the PONGIYUM PAAL PURAM POGAVILLAI. Meaning :
    Though he is much in anger he controlled himself and maintained limits

  4. Dear Sir,

    While translating into English of the relevant sayings of Tamil, please ensure that correct spellings of the word is put up. In “asking a cat to gaurd(sic) the pot of milk”, the correct form is “guard” and not as mentioned.

    Thanking you,

  5. dear sir,
    it is a great work done by you for tamil…………
    all d best

  6. Please do original work. You have copied verbatam from another book published in 1896, which is available in Pdf form -Ebook which has been digitesed by Microsoft. We would appreciate if the source is acknowledged.

    it is not late even now. Before someone brands you as copy cat and make an approriate ‘Proverb” – Ee Adichan copy !!!!

  7. Mr. Kesav,
    I wouldn’t be as careless as you while accusing some one. I have taken the proverbs from that book. Translations and explanations are mine. I have given that book as reference in all of my 15 parts of my Proverb series.

  8. what is d meaning for…. ooram pillayai ooti valarthal than pillay thaney valarum?

  9. ooram pillayai ooti valarthal than pillay thaney valarum? it means if u look after ur wife nicely( ooram pillai) ur son will grow nicely(UNPILLAI)

  10. hi,

    is there a quote about hardwork ?? you did an amazing job here btw!!

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